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Fitness Together Opens

One-on-one training facility in Chantilly focuses on individual goals.

Fitness Together — Chantilly, founded by husband and wife Mark and Wendy Shepherd, held its ribbon-cutting grand opening on Thursday, July 14.

Wendy Shepherd has managed the 2,000-square-foot fitness center since it opened last March — a month chosen for its appeal to athletes who prefer to avoid exercising in Virginia's hot and muggy weather.

"IT'S REALLY not a gym," said John Maxwell, president of James Monroe Bank and an active member at Fitness Together. "It's a one-on-one training facility. It's been a lot more effective than what I've had at other gyms."

"You don't just have a trainer, but people who really care about you," said Cindy Maxwell, John's wife and also an active member. "I blew out my hip about a month ago and Wendy [the owner] went out of her way yesterday to buy my groceries. You don't feel like you're just another number. Cindy also admits to losing "a couple of dress sizes" since starting her membership; "and I've really been building strength back in my lower back."

Fitness Together — Chantilly offers private studios, fitness coaches and equipment ranging from treadmills to functional trainers, hip sleds, free weights, recumbent bikes, elliptical trainers and a room devoted to cardio exercises.

"We also have contests to encourage people to do their cardio," said Shepherd. "Winners get free massages and days at the spa."

One such contest is called "Beat the Trainer," in which clients are challenged to complete more hours of cardio exercises than their trainers. "[One of our trainers] took a week off this month, so it's going to be a little easier [for many of our clients] to win," said Shepherd.

But Fitness Together is also competitive with its incentives to join. "The first session is always free," said Shepherd. "It really sells the service. I've never given one to someone who didn't want to buy."

THERE ARE no membership fees. Personal weight-training sessions cost $70 per hour, and clients usually come in between two and four times per week to achieve best their health-related goals.

Adding to its credibility, all seven trainers at Fitness Together — Chantilly have four-year degrees. "We call them coaches instead of trainers," said Shepherd, who described her employees as professionals who are interested in lifelong careers in fitness and education. "Their career paths are to become managers and owners; and we help them [along the way]," said Shepherd.

Located in the James Monroe Bank building, 3914 Centreville Road, Chantilly, Fitness Together — Chantilly addresses each client individually, holding them responsible for improving their own physical health.

"[What I like most] is the personal attention," said John Maxwell, of Walney Estates. "They customize a workout to your needs and they vary it so it doesn't become that repetitious, boring workout that is so easy to quit."

"We sell accountability," said Shepherd. "People won't do it on their own. We do logs and talk about eating right; and we're not intimidating like many other gyms. We help our clients find the time; and when [people] pay this kind of money and make an appointment, they show up."

There are a couple hundred Fitness Together locations across the United States and Canada. Other nearby locations can be found in Lake Ridge, Old Town Alexandria, Ashburn, Richmond, Lansdowne, Virginia Beach and Virginia Beach North; the closest Maryland location is in Bethesda.

To learn more about Fitness Together — Chantilly, call 571-323-2223 or visit the Web site at www.FTChantilly.com.